Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cramer v. Stewart and Influence Peddling

Over on Big Hollywood, Dan Gifford puts together a nice piece about the now-fading flop between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart. I've been a fan of both "Mad Money" and "The Daily Show" for some time now, and saw much of the brouhaha as it developed.

I couldn't figure out why Stewart would go after Santelli, when he's didn't just tee off on mortgage bailouts, but corporate bailouts as well. It's fine for Jon Stewart to call Santelli wrong, but Stewart made him out to be a hypocrite, which is patently unfair.

Then Cramer got in on the action, because Stewart's assault on Santelli had enough splash damage for all of CNBC. Like usual, Stewart's writers cherry-picked some segments from all across CNBC, and set them up out of context to look damning. It's funny, but it's not journalism. (Something Stewart will ardently agree with, when it works to his defense.) Cramer took exception, because he's been watchdogging Wall Street pretty loudly.

So Cramer goes on Stewart's show, and pretty much ties himself to the post and allows the public flogging. He's got an arsenal of evidence on his side, and he offers no defense whatsoever. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he'd do that, and I still can't.

Gifford's piece lays out some of that evidence nicely, and so much more about the position that news organizations like CNBC are in when they have to trade influence for access (a problem facing all news organizations, not just financial ones).

Give a read.

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